EL CENTRO, Calif. - Hundreds of high school students learned on Wednesday that violence on a date is not ok.
That’ was the message Southwest High School students received from a group of local agencies on Wednesday – Valentine’s Day.
John Cabrera, representing Imperial County Office of Education, said, “Domestic violence among teens is a big issue. We want to educate young people, engage them with different information about the importance of being in a healthy relationship.”
Cabrera said more than a million and a half teens nationwide suffer physical abuse by a dating partner every year.
“Sometimes resort to violence, control; we see depression, because sometimes they’re not educated or they don’t understand some of the factors – they don’t sometimes themselves. And so they get paired with somebody else and it’s just sometimes a recipe for disaster,” Cabrera said.
WomanHaven Executive Director Gina Vargas said low social skills and dysfunctional homes are part of the problem.
“Individuals either learn to be violent through what they see at home, they learn that thru home,” Vargas explained.
Serafin Fregoso, Imperial County Behavioral Health, said that excessive use of technology is partly to blame.
“As simple as just going to the mall or going to the restaurant, you see how families don’t interact with each other anymore. They send each other text messages. So, the whole being personal, that connection with another person gets lost in translation, I believe,” Fregoso said.
Vargas wants people to talk about the problem in order to find a solution.
“Can bring some discussion to it, so parents can actually start bringing awareness to their children, feel comfortable to talk to their children about what is teen dating violence relationships, healthy relationships,” Vargas said.
Organizers said there are many agencies in the area that are ready to help teens in trouble. All they have to do is make that call. They said it could save them a lot of pain.